L&D Manager Spotlight - Monica Horvat

Monica Horvat, 

Director of Presidential Priorities, Office of the President

headshot of Monica Horvat

1. Describe your role for UT.  

As the Director of Presidential Priorities, I lead the execution of time-sensitive special projects, track the progress of the President's initiatives, and ensure their completion with the help of the leadership team. Additionally, I oversee critical administrative functions including financial and HR operations, space utilization, and coordinate the completion of annual reports and evaluations. Serving as the President's liaison to academic and administrative units, I help build strong relationships across the university community, allowing us to work together to create positive change.

2. What was the most important lesson you learned as a new manager?

The most valuable lesson I learned as a new manager was that I don't need to know everything. It can be tempting to want to prove yourself by knowing everything there is to know, but take it from me, that's impossible. Instead, take time to identify and leverage your team's unique talents and skills – they are an invaluable resource and when managed well will lead to even greater performance.

3. What advice do you have for managers to help develop their team?

Encourage team members to share their ideas and perspectives, and actively listen to their input. Empower them to take ownership of their work and create space for your team to take risks and try new things providing the support they need to learn and grow from any setbacks. Also, high performing teams are often a reflection of high performing managers so work to continually develop yourself and model the behavior you want to see from your team.

4. Why is learning in the workplace important?

Learning in the workplace is critical for creating a culture of innovation and growth. When employees feel encouraged to learn and experiment, they're more likely to identify areas for improvement and suggest new, innovative solutions to improve overall performance as individuals and collectively. This not only leads to better outcomes for the business, but also helps employees feel more engaged and motivated in their work.

5. What have you recently learned, what are you currently learning about, or how are you developing yourself as a professional?

I am continually looking for ways to develop myself. Formally, I am pursuing my MBA at Texas State and just completed a course on operations management. Later this summer I will be taking a course on Design Thinking for Management. I also look for informal ways to develop and currently I am learning more about how to utilize AI to improve processes and drive innovation in my work. Recently I participated in a pilot mentorship program through my graduate program that I found to be extremely beneficial in broadening my perspectives as a leader, manager, and professional.